Manchester United can ill-afford any hangover from the crushing Leicester defeat as they welcome Atalanta and Ruslan Malinovskyi to Old Trafford in the Champions League.
Unlike Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team, the Serie A side come into the Group F clash off the back of 4-1 win against Empoli following the conclusion of the international break.
Gian Piero Gasperini may not have Robin Gosens available, but he does have the likes of Josip Illic, Duvan Zapata and Malinovskyi to fire his team to victory.
In the win against Empoli on Sunday, Zapata came on at half-time and Malinovskyi played the last 20 minutes, so he will be arriving at the Theatre of Dreams fresh and ready to steal the show.
Malinovskyi is a threat
The Ukrainian has only scored one goal so far this season, but it was an absolute screamer away to Inter Milan in a 2-2 draw.
Playing at the San Siro, the 28-year-old produced a wonder strike to beat Samir Handanovic from outside the box.
Malinovskyi was also involved in his team’s second goal in that game, as Handanovic could only parry another vicious long-range strike from the Atalanta attacking midfielder into the path of Rafael Toloi, who tapped home.
Malinovskyi is yet to complete the 90 minutes in any Atalanta match so far this season but only Lorenzo Insigne (2.60) and Antonio Candreva (3.1) currently average more key passes than the former Genk man (2.5) in Serie A.
That record is nothing on our very own Bruno Fernandes, but Malinovskyi also currently sits in the Serie A top five for the average number of dribbles per game with 2.3.
Malinovskyi may not have hit the heights of last season which saw him score 10 goals and make 12 assists from 43 games, but he does carry a threat that Solskjaer will have to combat.
With him likely playing off Zapata at Old Trafford, it could be the returning midfield pairing of Fred and Scott McTominay that are tasked with making sure that Malinovskyi isn’t given any time or space to hurt us.
David de Gea could be tested from range but on current form our Spanish stopper looks back to his best and up to any challenge.
Wednesday night is going to be a tricky game and Atalanta have several talented players that could punish us if our sloppy performances continue.
Malinovskyi is at the top of that list and he will need to be closed down very quickly if he picks up possession just outside the box.
Atalanta and Malinovskyi will pose a difficult challenge which United simply have to rise to and pass.
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